Shauna Wears Pink

I will never forget the day my doctor uttered those horrifying words “I am sorry to tell you, but that is a cancer tumor that you have in your left breast”. I was 33 years old, and my life changed forever. I invite you to read my story, learn from it and hopefully be inspired to reach out to other young women living with and beyond breast cancer.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Green Goddess

It has now been more than a year since the passing of my dear friend Shannon Watson who lost her battle with breast cancer on April 16th, 2010.
Shannon was one of the original members of the Pink Ribbon Cowgirls, the young survivor support group that I co-founded in 2006.
Shannon was told by her doctors that she would die young when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2007, but she was determined to prove them wrong and lived several years longer than predicted. I had the distinct honor and privilege to call her my friend and to participate with her in what she referred to as her “bucket list”. Shannon had the unenviable job of preparing her list at the tender age of 27. One of the items on her list was taking flying trapeze lessons, and I agreed to take them with her. I was terrified the entire time, but Shannon wasn’t. She sailed through the air without fear, much like she faced death. Shannon refused to give up, and fought so hard to live right up until the last hours of her life when she died in the arms of her husband at peace knowing that she had done everything she could to live a full life. Shannon was 29 years old when she died, and left behind a loving husband, a wonderful family, and hundreds of friends and acquaintances that where so touched and inspired by her courage and tenacity in the face of certain death. Among the many things that inspired and helped Shannon to live as long as she did was her commitment to be a Green Goddess. Shannon and I went through our original chemotherapy treatment at the same time back in 2005-2006, but less than 1 year out from treatment Shannon learned that her cancer had metastasized to her liver and bones – the dreaded Stage IV diagnosis. In case you are not familiar with breast cancer, Stage IV breast cancer is not curable. While there are fabulous new therapies that may prolong life for many years, it is eventually fatal. In the process of rallying around Shannon, we stumbled onto the sexy young spokesperson for cancer, Kris Carr, and her Crazy Sexy Cancer book. Kris was also living with metastatic cancer, and had found a way to stop its progression through diet and lifestyle. What a concept? So we all eagerly adopted Kris’s Green Goddess diet (as Kris so fondly calls her followers) which essentially meant eating a raw vegan diet that is also free of gluten and all forms of sugar. We all became Green Goddesses for Shannon. Shannon also eagerly adopted this diet and kept it up until the end. It is my firm belief that this Green Goddess diet prolonged and enhanced the quality of Shannon’s life immensely. I have remained on a vegan (mostly raw and gluten free) diet for the past 5 years, and I believe that I too have seen enormous benefits from this way of life. In addition to getting back down to a lean and trim size 6 (same size that I was in college), I have enormous energy and stamina. My immune system is better than it has ever been, and my blood sugar levels stay incredibly consistent (I used to suffer from daily blood sugar lows). And last, but certainly not least, this way of eating significantly decreases my risk of a recurrence of my breast cancer (many, many studies have proven this fact out over and over again, DIET MATTERS!). So today I reaffirm my commitment as a Green Goddess not only for you, Shannon, but for myself (I know you are munching on some fabulous green thing up there and smiling down on me right now). I challenge anyone reading this blog to do the same. This is not a diet, but a wholesale lifestyle change. If that concept is too much for you, just make a commitment to add more green things to your life. Buy a juicer and add a daily green juice to your life (I promise you will thank me for it later)…..Love you Shannon….I think of you every day when I make my green juice. You continue to inspire me each and every day!

Shauna’s Favorite Green Juice:
1 head celery
2 cucumbers
1 head kale
1 stalk broccoli
Half a bunch of cilantro

Run everything through a juicer (I prefer a Breville Juice Fountain), and enjoy 32 ounces of pure green goodness! For those of you that need to work up to this amount of green goodness, I suggest adding in another cucumber or an apple or pear at first and only include half the head of kale…..once your pallet starts to get cleansed of sugar you can work your way back to my recipe.